Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, April 5, 2001


Operator of 'Vegas Lights Arcade' Subject of Five Counts of Gambling

AUSTIN - An Ector County jury returned a guilty verdict against an Odessa man late Wednesday. Jack Pendergraft, owner of Vegas Lights Arcade, was found guilty on five Class A misdemeanor violations of the Texas Penal Code, including promotion of gambling, keeping a gambling place, and possession of gambling paraphernalia and devices. The trial was conducted in the Ector County Court-at-Law.

"This case constitutes one of the largest single-location seizures of so-called 8-liner slot machines by our Special Crimes investigators, which adds some fuel to the argument that these types of businesses are spreading, and their owners are brazenly conducting patently illegal activities in broad daylight," said Attorney General Cornyn. "Local law enforcement officials and prosecutors are cracking down on these crimes, and is a testament to their commitment to removing illegal gambling from their communities."

In February 2000, Attorney General's investigators serving search warrants on the premises at 4300 Andrews Highway, seized 62 8-liner slot machines with an estimated value of $175,000. Also seized were more than $26,000 in gambling-related cash and about $1,500 worth of Wal-Mart gift certificates, which are used to redeem items of value at these stores. The defendant forfeited these illicit assets.

Assisting the Attorney General' office in the case were the Odessa Police Department, the Ector County Attorney's office and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Including this case, the Attorney General's office has obtained a grand total of nine guilty verdicts, 37 guilty pleas, and forfeitures of almost $256,000 in cash and 709 machines statewide.

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Contact: Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees Shepperd at (512) 463-2050.
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